Carlingford Community Forum News
Many of you will remember attending our Public Meeting in the Village Hotel in 2016. From the information gathered at that meeting and also using other submissions from those unable to attend, an “Issues Paper” was produced. This formed the basis of ongoing discussions since then with Louth County Council.
In November 2019, at a meeting of Louth County Council (LCC) and Carlingford Community Forum, these issues were again reviewed and LCC prepared an application for grant aid for Carlingford under the “Rural Regeneration & Development Fund” (RRDF). This application was accompanied by a copy of the minutes from that meeting together with a letter of support from Carlingford Community Forum. The Forum consists of representatives from Carlingford Residents Association (CRA), Carlingford Tidy Towns (CTT), Carlingford Community Development/The Foy Centre, Carlingford Cooley Tourism Association (CCTA) and Carlingford Lough Heritage Trust (CLHT). The importance of having the cooperation of all these organisations cannot be over-emphasised. This was stressed to us at a meeting between the Community and the statutory bodies as far back as 2011.
Good news followed with the then Minister Michael Ring’s announcement of funding on June 25th. Project Cost €947,973.34, Grant Aid awarded €710,980.00. The application by LCC under the RRDF was for the upgrade of Carlingford’s Public Realm. The five streams to the application were as follows:
1. Improving the key area of arrival in Carlingford at the Waterfront Harbour and the public spaces in this area that form the spatial backdrop and setting for Carlingford.
2. Streets and spaces within the historic walled townscape connecting to the Market Square. These will be considered in terms of public realm uplift, heritage assets of medieval streets and sites of interest, linkages to the Greenway and Greenway supporting facilities, visitor activities and amenities, hotels and accommodation.
3. A Traffic Management Plan for Carlingford including a nuanced and locally tailored set of solutions to alleviate seasonal and periodic congestion and car dominance in Carlingford, particularly during peak tourist times. Walking and cycling modes of transport to be included.
4. A Signage Plan for Heritage, Tourism and Greenway access in Carlingford medieval town.
5. A plan for casual trading in Carlingford medieval town.
We acknowledge the work and perseverance of the Forum members and LCC over the last four years. To develop a strategy for sustainable village life, tourism and employment requires the cooperation of residents, businesses and tourists alike. We thank you all for your input to date.
Carlingford Community Forum is pleased to see work progressing on its Strand Lane and Old Quay Lane project. We look forward to completion of the work in the near future.
Carlingford Tidy Towns
In response to The June Tidy Towns Community survey we have made two expressions of interest to Louth County Council for funding.
1, Clár funding – We have expressed interest in a project to add 20 dual purpose recycling bins, and to place seating and Picnic tables on The Village Green and the green area near the Anchor feature.
2. A Playground Committee has been formed. They have had two designs commissioned to renew the existing Carlingford Playground. An expression of interest has been made to the Council for this project under Town and Village Renewal.
We are happy to be working in partnership with the Playground Committee and we hope that this application will be successful. They put a lot of hard work in preparing the application. If this project is successful, the Playground Committee will need support in fundraising as projects of this nature require match funding.
Louth County Council are seeking entries into ‘Louth in Bloom’ competition. Categories include:
Best Garden, Best Estate, Best Business/Hospitality premises and Best Biodiversity project. Closing date is 14th August. Details are available at www.louthcoco.ie Please do enter. We hope you are enjoying the blooms around town. A new flower bed has been created close to the Boat House, and planting added at Tholsel Gate thanks to Clean Coasts funding. Our up the pole hanging baskets are planted and will be going up in a few weeks’ time. We are finalising our new Tidy Towns Plan and will post it on our Facebook page and community noticeboards when completed. The projects are based on the feedback from the Community Survey. Thank you to everyone who completed it. Some great suggestions!
Thank you to everyone who attended ‘The Spring Clean’ in summer.
If you would like to volunteer please get in touch on our Facebook page by private message. Or Tel 0429373686. We need additional volunteers to help with litter patrols and with flower bed maintenance. We do a litter pick each Saturday at 6pm. Please come along to help out. Meeting point is the Village Green.
Carlingford Lough Heritage Trust
TALES FROM OUR PAST; FAMINE YEARS IN COOLEY.
The potato blight which led to the Great Famine first appeared in mid-August 1845, and a month later it could be confirmed in almost every county. In January 1846 the head of Carlingford Coastguard reported that the greater part of potatoes from the previous year stored in field pits were rotten, although considerable shipments were still leaving Warrenpoint for England. By April it was estimated that the growing crop was down by 50% across the Cooley Peninsula and unemployment among the labouring population could be as high as 80%. Government-sponsored relief committees were established in Carlingford in May and Riverstown in July 1846. Composed of landlords, clergy and bigger ratepayers, their main job was to purchase and distribute food such as Indian corn, known as ‘yellow meal’. They also had some say in relief work schemes which had begun in early 1846. Apart from Carlingford harbour, the major scheme in the area was the construction of a new road – which we still call the ‘New Line’ – from Ballaverty through Glenmore and Tullaghomeath to Cornamucklagh. It was such a large scheme that it was not completed until 1872.
The major engineering challenge was construction of a bridge across the deep gorge of the Ryland river at Tullaghomeath. This spot, known as An Grianan, had been the site of a famous school of poetry run by Séamas Dall MacCuarta. Beside Tullagh Bridge, a narrow road runs down towards Omeath: the ruins of MacCuarta’s house can be seen about 300 metres below the bridge.
The bridge is marked on Ordnance Survey maps and on a barely legible plaque at the site as Clermontpass. This is in honour of a key person in all relief work in the area, Thomas Fortescue of Ravensdale Park, chairman of the Dundalk Board of (Poor Law) Guardians, who became Lord Clermont in 1852. Fortescue was a major landlord, holding 23,000 acres in Louth and more elsewhere. He was generally recognised as a ‘good’ landlord by the low standards of the most vicious land-holding system in Europe, and there are many examples of his family’s philanthropy during the Famine. Even the Ribbonmen, who specialised in shooting landlords and their agents, conceded in a threatening letter in 1851 that “Mr Fortescue is a good man”, but added “… there is room for improvement”.
HERITAGE CENTRE OPENS ITS DOORS TO LOCAL ARTISTS TO RECORD VIRTUAL PERFORMANCE
Tired of performing from your kitchen? Come and record your next virtual gig/session in the colourful atmosphere of Carlingford Heritage Centre. Carlingford Lough Heritage Trust invite musicians from the Cooley Peninsula to come and make your music at the Centre as the backdrop to your performance. The magnificent east window and the artistic triptych exhibition offer interesting stage sets for performers. For details: contact Linda Stevens, Community Heritage Manager, Tel 086 8241514, Email firstname.lastname@example.org
TOWN TOURS GET OFF TO A GOOD START
Town Tours got off to a flying start this month thanks to the able Volunteer Guides who are teaming up with the staff to offer daily tours of medieval Carlingford for the months of July and August until the Castle opens. We are delighted to welcome our local guides who bring a wealth of knowledge and local insight to inform and entertain visitors. Guides include well known figures in Carlingford and the locality: Catriona Murphy, Anne Dearey, Joe Joyce and Laurena Rafferty. They are joined by Heritage Centre staff Sheila Boyle, Gerry Hoey, Linda Stevens and all are ably supported by Director Trustee Patricia Morrissey who is to be seen sporting her superb medieval dress for the occasion.
We are delighted to see visitors returning to the Heritage Centre in respectable numbers. They really enjoy their visit which begins with a short introduction to the town illuminated well by the wall mural which depicts the layout of the town in Norman times. They can then browse the exhibition and brush up on early Irish history and legend with our informative ‘Ages of Carlingford’ digital presentation.
So, do let visiting friends and family know that a town tour or visit to the Heritage Centre is worthwhile. Town Tours €6 Family ticket €14 and entrance to HC Adult €3.00 Children under 12 Free.
GUIDE VOLUNTEERS WANTED
Interested in sporting your local knowledge of Carlingford or learning more about the history and heritage of Carlingford? We are looking for people who would like to be involved in doing tours of the town or the Heritage Centre from August to October once a week /fortnight. Training provided. This is an enjoyable way to be part of heritage tourism in your town and to get to know so much more about the insights Carlingford offers to our understanding of the past.
Interested? Contact Linda Stevens Tel +353 (0)42 9373454